Not making the grade

A long hard day

Maybe it’s because I started out the morning by reading Blake and Shelley, but I’m ready to take back everything I said about how great my students were. I tricked myself, I think, by reading the essays I knew would be good as a preview. Now that I’ve worked my way through the stack from my 8am class, I’m ready to take a baseball bat to most of them.

There is little evidence of thought in most of those papers. While they’ve got mechanics down okay, they just seem to be allergic to thought. Just recite the information from the book, that will get you through. . . in a pigs eye. I hate to think of failing over half of them, but if it comes down to it I will. The 12pm papers should be better, I hope, at least from the sample I looked at. Why is it so hard for some people to think? Why do we make life a project of just “getting by”?

Of course I’m just pissed, and overstating the case. I also went through a bunch of revisions that are showing real progress. But they’re not there yet, and I’ve really got to hammer on them in the next few weeks to get them ready. I’m not going to pass anyone who can’t construct a credible argument, no way, no how.

At least 30% of them are making a genuine effort, and making progress. I haven’t quite figured out what to do with the rest. I may have to force them to write an essay about how to write an essay, in class. They seem to be able to tell me when I ask. So why aren’t they doing it? Is it just pure laziness? Next time, the assignment will be due before spring break. I think that’s part of the problem. They just threw it together after they got back. No, this just won’t do.